Tuesday 22 January 2013

Green Party Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Planning Bill

The Green Party in Northern Ireland has described the proposed Planning Bill to be debated in the Assembly as a ‘knee jerk reaction’ which could actually slow down and complicate the planning process.

Green Party MLA Steven Agnew said: “I have grave concerns over some of the details contained in this Bill.

“Firstly, it gives economic considerations greater influence over social and environmental concerns and this therefore contradicts commitments to sustainable development.

“Communities not economists should have control over what happens in the areas where they live and this proposed Planning Bill means corporate interests will be put before the best interests of people.

“Secondly, the Bill is being rushed through before the proposed RPA which seeks to shift planning responsibilities to the new ‘super’ councils.

“This is a kneejerk reaction which will ultimately lead to bad regulation.

“This could be counterproductive to the original aims of the Bill which was to expedite planning as there is likely to be an increase in appeals and judicial reviews.

“Planning is already stacked up against the interests of communities and this Bill fails to address the power imbalance that exists.

“We want to see a planning system which is fair, efficient, transparent and accountable underpinned by the principals of sustainable development.

“Sadly, it would seem that economic considerations have been given supremacy over people and the environment.

“This will inevitably lead to legal conflict and further appeals which will slow the planning process down.”

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